Slam Dunk Festival 2021 Review

So Slam Dunk Festival got moved around a handful of times and nearly didn’t happen but our prayers were answered and everything got to happen as scheduled!

They came out on top but they ultimately had to lose a number of bands due to covid restrictions but…. do we really need to complain? The show went on at both dates in Leeds and Hatfield as scheduled!

The day was in a nutshell, inspiring, exhilarating and emotional to say the least where in fact for some bands for the first time since the pandemic began to a fully live audience!

Okay so firstly just getting there, everything ran without a hitch. With the coach service to the festival running more smoothly everything was off to a good start.

When the floodgates opened shall we say…. there was just an absolute collective rush of energy which had been building for the last eighteen months. People running off to get their spot for their favourite bands, such. sight!

So after the little work of figuring out who to go see, first up on the day was The Key Club stage with For You The Moon. The newcomers to the scene did get people going, even if they were on the softer side of things for the day but it made me all the more hungry to want more from them. Speeding over to the Jägermeister stage for the the end of Blood Youth, you could feel the energy in the pits as well as the emotion for what was would be what was frontman Kaya Tarsus’s last show with the band. Who can blame them for a YOKRSHIRE chant? What I was quite surprised by was how full that crowd was because I don’t think the tent was less than half full for a single band on the day! Way to show your support people!

Shifting across back to The Key Club Stage for the The Hara, this was a band full of energy and genuine craziness.They’re one band on the day which just gave me everything I wanted and more which fed in well over to Doll Skin, with some powerful tracks at their disposal and one performance that is simple but it works so well, with a few acrobatics on it as well. Leading into the special guests which were… (drumroll please) MCFLY! Quite a few people were surprised to say the least but I found myself quite shocked at how heavy they sounded considering they’re quite a more pop orientated band. But realistically, they have to book McBusted for next year right?? It’s the only logical option.

After a little food and watching As It Is from the grass on the Rock Scene Stage I did manage to catch Creeper where they prove just how far they’ve come over the years. Last time they set the festival alight and they’re carrying on that trajectory and I give it maybe five years or so and they could be potential headliners to the whole thing.

Moving back over for The Key Club stage in Static Dress, I do have to say they were a little disappointing not really hitting the mark because of technical difficulties plaguing their set where they compensated with the amount of energy from frontman Olli Appleyard.

It was from this point, I ran into a few problems. The first was being for Funeral For A Friend as well as Trash Boat because I honestly couldn’t get into the Jägermeister Stage! Now it’s amazing to see that there was so many people off to watch them but I don’t think the festival organisers were anticipated the crowd. Nevertheless, I managed to hear a few tracks while I was talking to one or two people and honestly, it was exquisite.

Heading across for the highlight of the festival over to the Rock Scene Stage (even though they were plagued by twenty minutes of technical difficulties) and making their first appearance of a band for six years were We Are The In Crowd. Now I’m not going to lie, thirty seconds into their set, I was nearly in tears, mainly because it felt so good to have this band back, and also because they opened with The Best Thing (That Never Happened) and that song is just so great to listen to.

Now, moving back quickly for the last of Wargasm as well as Lizzy Farrall over on The Key Club stage, there was plenty of energy about again where the terrible twosome of vocals for Wargasm were nothing short of amusing yet amazing. There’s something always so atmospherically charged when they take to the stage and oh so amazing to watch where I’m pretty sure there was a music-gasm during their set but we’ll let the audience decide on that one..

Now onto Lizzy Farrall, one of the festival veterans having played multiple times where previously the artist has only played acoustically here but with her full band debut it’s always so utterly fantastic to watch her play. It feels as if the release of her record ‘Bruise’ really stepped up her game where her sass and banter just come out in full force.

Moving across back to the Rock Scene Stage for State Champs, I wasn’t sure what to expect really but for them the performance was just effortless. They got into the swing of things so quickly and had people up and down as if it was too easy for them. with he added tracks to their catalogue of ‘Just Sound’ and ‘Outta My Head’, these only helped strengthen the emotion of their set just in time for some crowdsurfing.

Rushing back across to The Key Club Stage for the last few tracks in Normandie’s set, the Sweedish band show you they show you why they deserve your attention. Fans will know their music is a lot of build and not just rise and fall where the vocals of Phillip Strand just add to the experience of what you’re witnessing.

Last up on The Key Club Stage were Holding Absence, the Welsh protégées who’ve refined their sound into what Post-hardcore is and when ‘Celebration Song’ hit all I heard was people going absolutely crazy for them and possibly a few pits, I’m fifty-fifty on what I saw there. Nevertheless, their performance showcased the melodic genius of their latest record, ‘The Greatest Mistake Of My Life’ which is uplifted byhow much love they’re getting from the crowd that’s come to watch.

Don Broco were the last band of mine to watch on the day and honestly, one I was looking forward to the most where it’s safe to say that I didn’t leave disappointed with the band putting out some variety across their now lengthy catalogue of tracks. With the production of their set, no expense was too little with laser displays as well as pyro sparking up, and even the inclusion of Waterparks’ Awsten Knight and While She Sleeps’ Loz Taylor joining the band on stage for the UK live debut of Action. Some tracks you just wish you could see live again because as you hear it in another way it stays with you and that’s exactly what the band did with Automatic, Technology and more.

Despite the technical difficulties through the day, it felt so good to be back at Temple Newsman and now next year, hopefully some of the bands which had to pull out can make it back and we can watch in full force with more madness!

Don’t forget check out the pics I took from the crowds below!

Normandie Release New Track, ‘Hostage’

Swedish rock riot Normandie have released a new track ,’Hostage’ with a video directed and produced by Lucas Englund.

Philip Strand (vocals) had to say of the track and its video.

“When I was 22 I suffered from severe anxiety and experienced something called DP, De-Personalisation. I couldn’t recognise myself in the mirror and it felt like nobody could see or hear me. It was like I didn’t exist. ‘Hostage’ is about those experiences and is written from the perspective of what it felt like inside these panic attacks.

This video itself is about the battle we have within ourselves. It’s the therapy session with the different versions of myself and linked to past videos ‘Holy Water’, ‘Jericho’, ‘White Flag’, and ‘Atmosphere’. The snake represents the negative voice in our heads and has a religious reference where the snakes whispers led to the fall of Eden, the place of perfect peace and stillness.”

Check out ‘Hostage’ below.

The band’s third album, ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’, is set for release on February 19th 2021 via Easy Life Records and can be pre-ordered via the band’s Webstore.

Kill The Ideal Share ‘Save The World’ Video

The up and coming British mob Kill The Ideal have released a video for their track, ‘Save The World’ which features guest vocals from Normandie’s Phillip Strand.

Frontman Ash Wilson had this to say about it.

“Although the last year has been mentally and physically challenging for everyone we wrote ‘Save The World’ to help at what hopefully is the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a very dark time with a lot of uncertainty but together we will unite and get through this. It’s down to us to Save The World. We wanted to do something seriously special with this track so It made perfect sense for us to team up with Philip of Normandie on this.”

The EP, ‘Against The World’, is set to be released on February 5th 2021.

Pre-Orders are available via the band’s Webstore.

Check out the video for ‘Save The World Below.

Normandie Share New Video For ‘Babylon’

There’s a new video in the Music Video sphere for Normandie.

The track is off their upcoming record, ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’, which is set to be released on 19th February via Easy Life Records.

Philip Strand (Vocals) says: “Babylon wasn’t supposed to happen. With the covid restrictions, it landed us more time to dive into the studio again and play around with new ideas. The song came purely from just having fun and playing around using breaths and coughs as instruments.

“I’ve been searching for my identity my entire life. Going from group to group, crowd to crowd, trying to fit in – finally, I realised that my true identity is something I should form myself.” “Are you following or falling out” is a line I wanted to use to express the way many of these groups behave. You’re either in or out. To me, identity is what you get when you mix all the things you identify with, bits and pieces that then become you as whole.”

Check it out below, and catch the band on their rescheduled headline tour in October 2021, with special guests Thousand Below and Captives.

New Music Roundup 18/12/20

Hello everyone welcome back to the New Music Roundup! We’re here for a roundup of five of the best recently released tracks. They’re not all within the same genre and they’re all different in some way or another but that means that there’s a little something for everyone here but come on, let’s get down to the music!

First up this wee are Frank Iero and his band, The Future Violence with the second track from their upcoming EP, ‘Heaven Is A Place, This Is A Place’ set to be released on January 15th 2021 via UNFD.

This is just a true Punk track with raw vocals as well as blaring drums to match.

Next up this week we have the Bristolian pack Superlove with their standalone, raucous track “Not Me! Not You!”.  The track, which follows their recently released brand new self-titled EP also comes in support of Rude Records 20th Anniversary.

“This single represents a pure burst of energy that we wanted to release having been sat around for most of the year.” says singer Jacob.  “It’s a song about people not having a clue what’s going on in the world. It’s a step away from our last few singles from our recent EP & it just felt right to throw it out into the world and watch the reaction seeing as though we can’t go and play some live shows off the back of the EP’s release. We recorded it in the first week of the UK’s 2nd lockdown and it’s been the quickest turnaround for a release yet, we are so excited of the prospect of hopefully playing it live one day to a proper rowdy room.”

Continuing in recent form for the Sweedish Trio Normandie, the latest effort, ‘Atmosphere’, is the latest choice of single to come from the band’s upcoming record, ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’ which is set for a release via Easy Life Records on February 19th 2021.

Vocalist Philip Strand had this to say of the track.

“One in five people in Europe say they experience feelings of loneliness, and during the pandemic many more feel anxious and isolated. With ‘Atmosphere’, we wanted to highlight the issue of loneliness online and how hard it can be to reach out for real connections. With the video we tried to focus on the lyrics, and let the visuals reflect on the emotions in the song.”

We’ve been waiting on some Pale Waves news for a while and we got it with the first track ‘Change’ and now this is a little bit of a different track to say the least with the Indie influence mixed with Avril Lavigne vibes, we have ‘She’s My Religion’ which is off their upcoming record, ‘Who Am I?’ which will be released via Dirty Hit on February 12th 2021.

Now I had to choose this track for the final pick this week and that is David Hasselhoff.

The Hoff has teamed up with Austrian duo CueStack for an epic single and sci-fi-tinged video, Through The Night, with the band previously revealing of how it all came about: ​“The project started in 2018 and many demos were made, many meetings were held and what seemed like an impossible idea slowly turned into a reality. David finally recorded the track with us, CueStack, in 2019 in Vienna and we also shot a cinematic music video together.”

And that’s it for another week of a roundup of the best new tracks out in the world in the last week. Be sure to check back next-time for another round of great music videos. If you have any suggestions for me to check out, be sure to send an email or message us via the socials on Facebook or Twitter!

Just an announcement for the next two weeks New Music Roundup, there’s not going to be one post because of the holidays and will resume in the new year. Happy Holidays everyone from Almost Anything Music.

Second Five4Five Fest Announced, Holding Absence & Yonaka Are Headlining

Earlier this year in May, Five4Five fest brought together a group of bands for a livestream experience.

Now, the festival is back with a fantastic lineup.

Five4Five Festival is set to take place over December 18th and 19th 2020 and will be headlined by Holding Absence and Yonaka.

On the announcement, Yonaka have said:

“We are dead excited to be headlining this festival. It’s for a great cause for everyone to get involved in, saving the grassroots venues that we have all had a great time in. We all want to get sweaty and moshy again so do what you can to help and enjoy the show!”

And Holding Absence have said:

“After what has been the longest year for all of us musicians, Holding Absence are extremely excited to be blowing off the cobwebs and headlining Five4Five fest this December! We all individually tuned in and enjoyed the first one so are honoured to be a part of it this time around, especially as all the proceeds are going towards something as close to our hearts as the Music Venue Trust.”

In addition to the headliners, The Dangerous Summer, Normandie, Vukovi, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Lizzy Farrall, Hacktivist, Delaire The Liar, Nova Twins, Holiday Oscar, Chapter and Verse, Snake Eyes, As Everything Unfolds, Weatherstate, The Rhythm Method, Tally Spear, Stay Free, Anavae, Paper Mill and Haggard Cat will all play.

All of the performances will be free to watch on the festival’s Facebook and YouTube pages but those watching will be encouraged to donate £5 to a link provided at the time. All profits will be donated to the Music Venues Trust’s #saveourvenues crisis fund.

The festival’s co-founder Tom Pullen had this to say:

The past, present and future of the UK music industry relies on grassroots, independent music venues. We at Five4Five can’t stand by and watch as our venues are left to weather the Covid-19 crisis on their own. We’re proud to partner up with the Music Venue Trust to help ensure they can reopen safely, so we can go back to the loud and sweaty spaces where it all begins. In the meantime, we’ve gathered some of the finest acts to enjoy from the comfort of your own sofa. We hope you enjoy and donate if you can.”

You can check out the first edition of the festival below, which raised 50k for NHS Charities Together.

Check out Day 1.

And check out Day 2.

Normandie Confirm Third Record, ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’

Sweedish trio Normandie have announced the details of their third record, ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’, which is set to be released on February 19th 2021 via Easy Life Records.

Phillip Strand (Vocals) says:

“This is a really dark album to me. There’s something about writing a new album that gives a freedom to be true to yourself in both sound and lyrics. We decided to be as intimate and personal as possible, sharing true stories from our past for the first time. We called it ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’. Everyone has secrets, each and every one of us has something buried deep down inside that we desperately keep hidden away from the judging eyes of the world. A secret that comes to light can be a beautiful relief. Proof that you have gone through the healing process and you’re ready to move on.”

Check out the Cover Artwork, Tracklisting and the single Jericho as well as their latest release, ‘Holy Water’ below.

01.) Babylon
02.) Hostage
03.) Jericho
04.) Holy Water
05.) Mission Control
06.) Bury Me Alive
07.) Atmosphere
08.) Thrown In The Gutter
09.) Renegade
10.) Chemicals

Pre-order options are yet to be announced.

New Music Video Roundup

Hello everyone. I do apologise for not posting in the last week. As some of you might not know, I’m a one person operation on this blog and things just got away from me in the last few weeks where I’ve been applying for more jobs as well as working at my part time place of work so things have been a touch hectic for me at the time of writing. But enough of that real life stuff, let’s get to the music side of things.

The first pick of this week is Thousand Below. They have a animated video is a reworked version of their track ‘Chemical’. The track originaly featured on last year’s ‘Gone In Your Wake’.

This new version featured guest vocals from Dead Lakes frontman Sumner Peterson and is off their recent EP, ‘Let Go Of Your Love’ which does feature more reworked tracks off ‘Gone In Your Wake’.

Next we move to Australia. The heavy hitters in Alpha Wolf have their latest video for ‘Bleed 4 You’, which is the third single off their upcoming ‘A Quiet Place to Die’.

Sabian Lynch (Guitar) says on the track:

“This song is a little out of our comfort zone but upon completion we feel we created something special. We’re not a band who wants to stick solely to one sound, we have a wide variety of influences and we want each song to stand up on its own.

We initially had written pages of lyrics for this song. It seems most people have a story of meeting the exact right person at the exact wrong time, so there was no short supply of input. However the further we delved into the song, the more apparent it came that we didn’t need pages of lyrics, just a handful of the right words. Originally the track was a lot heavier, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, but once we had the lyrical theme in mind we revisited the song and it evolved into something none of us expected.”

Heading to the British waters for a bit of Punk this time in the form of Milk Teeth.

‘Sharks’ is off their recently released self-titled record where this video sees their fans assist in some clips.

“The video for ‘Sharks’ was put together to show fans and friends having fun during lockdown,” Becky explains. “It’s been a really weird few months globally and incredibly isolating for many, the aim of the video was to bring the music community together while we aren’t able be together in person. The submissions brought a lot of joy – a huge thank you to those who took part. Sharks is lyrically a very dark song juxtaposed against a catchy melody and tempo.

“Originally written on the piano, it’s about when I was being bullied for almost 2 years after a bad breakup and having to stay strong and determined even though I was getting swarmed by “sharks”. The “I need you like the air that I breathe” symbolises the unhealthy connection I had to the person involved – they were being abusive but I’d still feel like I needed them and their approval no matter how badly I was treated.

“The last verse is about how resilience is so important and that they may have left me vulnerable and metaphorically “exposed “ but that I wouldn’t be made to disappear until my bones have rusted out (resilience) and that even the wear and tear wouldn’t beat me.”

Keeping the next pick on British soil, Norwich’s Other Half released their debut record, ‘Big Twenty’ out into the world via Venn Records on the 21st August 2020.

Before that happened however, they dropped ‘Sameness Without End’ into the world for everyone to enjoy.

On the video, the band say:

“As nice as it’s been making all our previous videos ourselves, it’s pretty hard to get us all playing together when Sophie has to be stood behind the camera the whole time. I think we operate at our best when we’re actually making a din together, so we asked our friend Tom from Road Mutant to make us a video where we do just that.

We recorded the video at Sick Room, the studio where we recorded ‘Big Twenty’. Owen who runs Sick Room was such an important part of making the record so it was nice to come back and spend some quality time at the studio playing the same song over and over again in 33 degree heat.”

Now, in much anticipation of their upcoming record, ‘Ohmns’, Deftones have the title track in music video for for up. This is the first offering for us in four years since the release of their record ‘Gore’.

Moving onto the German progessive metal band The Ocean. they have a video for the track, ‘Oilgocene’ which is set to come on their upcoming record, ‘Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic’.

The video was filmed by Loïc Rossetti (Vocals) and David Åhfeldt (Guitar) and Robin Staps (Guitar) , the video was shot in the Aragats mountains in Armenia during one of their tours last summer.

On the video Staps says:

“We found this place by accident: the dilapidated ruins of a soviet observatory & research station for cosmic radiation. The building itself looked like a spaceship that had crash-landed up high in the mountains, but there were lots of interesting structures scattered across the landscape: concrete cubes, underground tunnels, rusted machinery, fallen power poles and watchtowers. It all looked like taken straight out of Andrej Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’ movie.”

Heading over to Little Rock, Arkansas for our next pick in the quartet Pallbearer for the video of ‘Rite Of Passage’, the second single off their upcoming record, ‘Forgotten Days’.

Joseph Rowland (Bass) says:

“‘Rite Of Passage’ is both a reflection and a confessional. The toll that loss has taken on my life often finds ways to remind me that I may never feel whole, and the song’s purpose is to express and embody that emptiness. It felt totally appropriate to wrap it in reimagined trappings of our earliest doom-leaning material.”

Vegas anyone? That’s the destination of the Post-Hardcore Amarionette whom have the video for their title – track off their latest record, ‘Sunset On This Generation’.

How about a Philadelphia band?

The up and coming group Neverkept have a new single out in the world titled as ‘Sundown Somehow’ alongside the accompanying video.

It’s uncertain if the track is a stand along single or if it’ll be part of a larger EP or Record.

The band explain:

“We wanted to write something that would sound like the ups and downs you face in recovery or struggles in any capacity, for that matter, through the sound of pissed off guitars, room rocking drums, and intimate vocals.”

Toning things down slightly, we have the Chicago Singer/Songwriter Into It. Over It with the new track and accompanying video for ‘We Prefer Indoors’.

This is off the upcoming fourth record, ‘Figure’ set to be released via Big Scary Monsters / Triple Crown Records which will be the follow up to the 2016 effort, ‘Standards’.

And lastly we have the ever incredible Normandie, which is one of the EU’s best exports as well as their home country of Sweden.

They have for us ‘Jericho’ which is the bands first new music in two years since the release of their record, ‘White Flag’.

We all have our secrets. Whether we’re ready to face them or not, each and every one of us has something buried deep down inside that we desperately keep hidden away from the prying, judging eyes of the rest of the world. But sometimes those secrets become so powerful that they can no longer stay buried, festering and gnawing at our souls so much that they can stop us from living life to the fullest. He didn’t realise it until recently, but singer Philip Strand was harbouring one such secret for the longest time.

“When we first wrote Jericho I was actually singing about something else,” he begins. “It was originally about a relationship where the other person was very cold hearted and they didn’t really give away any emotions but it became increasingly clear that something else was driving the song.”

“Writing became like a therapy session for me, all of a sudden,” he explains, “I felt like there was something deeper I wanted to touch on. I wanted to touch base and just really go into this emotion. Something was driving me down there, into myself. So I made a conscious decision to write about my personal experiences for the first time. I felt like it was time. I went back and I switched some words around so that the entire meaning of the song shifted. It’s became about breaking down the old to give way and form something completely new…”

And that’s it for another week of the music video countdown. Be sure to check back next-time for another round of great music videos. If you have any suggestions for me to check out, be sure to send an email or message us via the socials on Facebook or Twitter!

Normandie Announce UK Tour For 2021

With the stellar release of their latest single, ‘Jericho’, Normandie have announce the details of a UK tour which is set to take place in March 2021.

The support has been confirmed as Thousand Below and Captives.

Here are the dates.

March 2021

24th -Joiners, Southampton

25th – Mama Roux’s, Birmingham

26th – Dingwalls, London

27th – REbellion, Manchester

28th – Cathouse, Glasgow

29th – Exchange, Bristol

And in case you missed it, check out ‘Jericho’ below with an explanation of the track from vocalist Philip Strand.

“When we first wrote Jericho I was actually singing about something else.

It was originally about a relationship where the other person was very cold hearted and they didn’t really give away any emotions but it became increasingly clear that something else was driving the song.”

Writing became like a therapy session for me, all of a sudden. I felt like there was something deeper I wanted to touch on. I wanted to touch base and just really go into this emotion. Something was driving me down there, into myself.

So I made a conscious decision to write about my personal experiences for the first time. I felt like it was time. I went back and I switched some words around so that the entire meaning of the song shifted. It’s became about breaking down the old to give way and form something completely new…”

Normandie Announce UK Summer Dates

After their White Flag tour, which proved to be a huge success, the Sweedish collective Normandie have announced additional UK dates which co-inside with their 2000 Trees Festival appearance this July.

Here are the dates

July

9th – Leeds Key Club

11th – Bournemouth Anvil (With Hands Like Houses)

13th – Cheltenham 2000 Trees Festival.

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